Graphic Butterfly with Cross Shadow background

—Dr. Sam Smith is the organizer of Butterfly Ministries and can be reached at ssmithkate@aol.com.

“Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” [Hebrews 2:14-15]

Someone said to me once, “Sam, I have never known anyone who looked so forward to dying.” We had been discussing life on earth as compared to life in heaven. Apparently, he could tell that I am very excited about eternity in heaven – I AM! I really don’t look forward to dying, however. Death is hard, even for Christians. Even though we know we are headed for heaven, the death process is hard to accept. We all know how difficult it is to lose a loved one. It hurts, and we miss them so much.

When I consider my death, the thing I dread the most is the sadness of my loved ones. Oh, I do not relish the thought of the suffering that can accompany dying. Like most of us, I would just as soon die in my sleep. I really don’t give that part of dying a lot of thought. I trust God’s grace to handle that, and I really don’t have a lot of control over it anyway. One thing I feel good about – I do not fear it.

As Christians, we don’t need to fear death. These verses from Hebrews tell us that Jesus freed “those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” That is a good way to put it – “held in slavery by their fear of death.” We are slaves to anything we fear, and folks seem to fear death above all else. That’s the way Satan wants us – fearful. Due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the devil has used our fear of death to keep us in bondage. We must never forget that Jesus defeated Satan and death by His resurrection. It is natural to dread dying, but we do not have to fear death – if we know Christ!

Death is not the end; it is the beginning, thanks to Jesus. Billy Graham said, “Believing in life after death isn’t just guesswork, nor is it simply wishful thinking. We know there is life after death for one reason: Jesus Christ, the son of God, died and was placed in the tomb — but on the third day came back to life. By His resurrection, Jesus showed us beyond all doubt that there is life beyond the grave, and that by believing in Him we can be with Him in heaven forever.”

Rev. Graham went on to say, “Don’t gamble with your soul, and don’t risk ending up in that place of absolute despair the Bible calls hell. Instead, commit your life to Jesus Christ and trust Him alone for your salvation. His promise is true: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25).

If we will allow the Lord to help us overcome the fear of death, our time on earth will be so much better. Look at it this way: when you are preparing for a vacation to a place you really want to go, you are happy and excited. Just the anticipation of getting there lightens your load and makes you happy. My sisters and brothers in Christ, we are headed for paradise – a place created by Almighty God for His children. A place of beauty and happiness and peacefulness and glory that surpasses anything we can imagine – and our loved ones will be there — for eternity! If we can get excited about a week or two in Disney World, we should be ecstatic about eternity in Heaven. That is why I encourage everyone to spend more time thinking about, and studying about, heaven. With Jesus we do not need to fear death, it is only the beginning of glorious forever in paradise. ALLELUIA!

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— Dr. Sam Smith is the organizer of Butterfly Ministries and can be reached at ssmithkate@aol.com.